Advocacy Alert: Alaska State Council on the Arts

8/29/2019 UPDATE: The below information was provided to the museum advocacy community in July 2019. As of August 2019, the Governor has signed a budget that reinstates funding for the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

The Governor’s vetoes eliminated funding for the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA), which would eliminate this state agency from the Department of Education and Early Development.

All 50 states in the U.S., and its six jurisdictions, have a state arts agency. The charge of a state arts agency is to ensure that communities receive the civic, economic, educational, and cultural benefits of the arts.

ASCA maintains the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank, provides grants to many museums in the state, and has been a strong advocacy partner on behalf of arts and humanities in Alaska.

If the veto stands, $1.5 million in private foundation funds (twice that of the state allocation to ASCA) meant to benefit Alaskans will be returned to would-be funders.

As members of the statewide museum community, your voice matters on this issue. 

The Alaska Legislature approved HB 2001 which adds funding for ASCA back into the budget. The Governor will either sign or veto this bill (in full or by line).

The Governor can be reached the following ways:

Email the Governor

Governor’s mailing address and phone number

Some things to mention:

  • ASCA, like every other state arts agency in the nation, receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. A requirement of receiving these federal funds is that they be matched 1:1 by the state. Should state funding dip below the NEA allocation, ALL federal funding goes away.
  • State and federal funds going to ASCA represent less than half of the overall budget – the rest (about 55%) comes from private, non-governmental sources including Alaskan and national foundations which invest in Alaska for the benefit of all Alaskans.
  • ASCA’s FY2019 state appropriation of $692,800 comprised 0.015% of Alaska state general fund expenditures, just over 1-100th of 1% of all state spending.
  • For every $1 that ASCA awards, grantees secure an additional $27 in local match, private contributions and earned income.
  • If ASCA is eliminated, over 400 pieces of art from the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank will be recalled and deaccessioned.

You can reach your legislators by email, phone, social media, or mail.

Find out who your Senators and Representatives are with this interactive map, and then find their contact information below:

Alaska State Senate

Alaska House of Representatives

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) maintains an Advocacy webpage that allows you to find your elected officials by entering your address. There you will find your federal and state elected officials, including address, phone number, and social media handles. 

Consider sharing a Facebook post or Tweet and tagging your elected officials:

“I support the Alaska State Council on the Arts, which provides valuable resources to the state of Alaska and my community. Please support the continuation of ASCA @[insert social media handle]”

You can also send a 50 word message to your legislators, using the link below.

Write a 50 word message

Museums Alaska’s Board of Directors has named supporting ASCA as one of our top legislative priorities this year. Museums Alaska maintains resources on our website to help you navigate the Alaska legislative process here. We will continue to share more resources and information as it becomes available.

We also hold a monthly Advocacy Task Force teleconference meeting, that is open to anyone interested in advocating on behalf of Alaska’s museums.